Practical Farmers of Iowa is Hiring

For Release: October 8, 2014

Practical Farmers of Iowa is hiring a Research and Program Assistant.

Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking an experienced professional to serve as our Research and Program Assistant. Practical Farmers offers a flexible, fast-paced work environment with opportunities for independent initiative and professional development. This position will be expected to assist in all facets of Practical Farmers’ Cooperators’ Program but will primarily pertain to on-farm research in our field crops (corn, soybean, small grains, cover crops) and energy areas. Practical Farmers’ Cooperators’ Program involves on-farm research conducted in all of our focus areas: field crops, livestock, horticulture and energy. The research conducted as part of Practical Farmers’ Cooperators’ Program stems from the priorities set by our member-farmers; PFI staff does not tell them what they should be interested in. Our farmers’ priority is not published papers but free sharing of knowledge and information among farmers and actual change on their farms. Field crops research typically involves randomized and replicated experimental designs with treatment strips running the full length of commercial production fields at several of our members’ farms across the state of Iowa. Practical Farmers’ Energy Programming helps farmers document and then reduce their on-farm energy use and share the results with other farmers.

Duties include:

  • Write and report on grants in field crops and energy areas.
  • Assist with research report writing in field crops and energy areas.
  • Feature PFI farmers in field crop articles (6 per year), energy articles (4 per year), blogs on field crops and energy farmers/topics/events.
  • Coordinate field work with participating research partner organizations, including: seeding, data collection, sampling, etc.
  • Coordinate and staff events—including conference sessions, field days, workshops, farminars—for field crop and energy programs.
  • Assist the Research Scientist and Cooperators’ Program Manager implement on-farm research.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree is required, Master’s degree preferred, in a scientific field.
  • Experience writing grant proposals, grant reports and technical research reports.
  • Experience with on-farm or university research trials that include randomized and replicated treatment designs.
  • Basic understanding of field crop production in Iowa and the challenges all farmers in Iowa face to conserving energy on-farm.
  • Successful candidate will want to attend 6-12 field days or workshops
    with farmers per year.
  • Must be patient with sometimes imperfect research efforts.
  • Must be a team player.

This is a full-time position based in our Ames office. This position requires travel (mostly in Iowa), a valid driver’s license, the ability to lift 50 pounds and the ability to walk long distances. The position reports to Stefan Gailans, Research Scientist and Cooperators’ Program Manager.Practical Farmers is a family-friendly employer. The position includes full health care benefits, a flex plan, short- and long-term disability, life insurance, and generous paid time off. Employer contribution to a 401k retirement plan is offered after one year of employment.


  • $35-38,000 plus benefits, based on experience and qualifications.

We are looking for a three-year commitment to this position.

Please apply by sending cover letter, resume and references to Stefan Gailans at by November 1, 2014.